Puzzles Can Be Deadly

By David S. Pederson

A bizarre old woman who worships the memory of her lost son.

A nun with hidden secrets.  

A spinster housekeeper with a secret of her own.  

An angry young man with a troubled past.

A neighbor who claims to talk to dead people at seances.

Skip Valentine and Henry Finch encounter these eccentric people on their weekend trip to visit Henry’s uncle. When they learn of the groundskeeper who died in a mysterious fire shortly before they arrived, strange occurrences are imbued with ominous portent. The peculiar accidents, ghostly barking, a pounding heard late at night in the creepy old mansion, and a strange old box buried behind the burned-out carriage house all add up to something.   

Skip yearns to investigate. It’s all so perplexing. But when another death raises the stakes, the puzzle turns deadly. The solution may lie in a curious rhyme told by the groundskeeper before he died, but first Skip and Henry must decipher it.

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Murder at the Oasis

By David S. Pederson

A Private Detective Mason Adler Mystery | Book 3
Friends & Community
California
Private Investigator
Vacation
Children / Families

A relaxing trip to a Palm Springs resort turns deadly for Mason Adler and his friend Walter Wingate when first one of their fellow guests, then another, ends up murdered. Suspects and motives abound among the remaining guests as well as the owner of the Oasis resort, Marvin Gagliardi, an old friend of Walter’s.

Mason investigates, hoping to prove Marvin’s innocence, but the more he uncovers, the more he wonders if Marvin actually might be the murderer. Distracting Mason is the handsome and eligible police detective assigned to the case, Brian Branchford. Mason had vowed not to become interested in anyone living a five-hour drive from Phoenix, but Branchford’s green eyes, gray hair, and toothbrush moustache are compelling reasons to give it a try.

It’s up to Mason to uncover the truth about the deaths at the Oasis, and to discover if there’s romance as well as murder at the Oasis.

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Murder at Union Station

By David S. Pederson

A Private Detective Mason Adler Mystery | Book 2
Big City
Private Investigator
Actors/Artists
Friends & Community

Phoenix, May 6, 1946

At close to midnight in the Union Station baggage room, the air is hot, still, and thick. The eleven forty-five Golden State Limited to Los Angeles is approaching rapidly when the baggage handler, Alfred Brody, notices a stray hound dog sniffing around one of the steamer trunks. The horrific discovery of a body inside the trunk can mean only one thing: there’s a murderer among them.

The young woman was certainly murdered, but who did it, and why? Suspects and motives abound as Private Detective Mason Adler investigates. He soon realizes that nothing, and no one, are what they seem to be as he races to uncover the truth and bring the real murderer to justice without becoming the next victim.

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Murder on Monte Vista

By David S. Pederson

Actors/Artists
Private Investigator
A Private Detective Mason Adler Mystery | Book 1
Veterans
Big City
Friends & Community
Food

It’s 1946, and on a hot spring night in Phoenix, Arizona, things are only beginning to heat up at the Monte Vista Road home of flamboyant decorator Walter Waverly Wingate.

Private detective Mason T. Adler isn’t thrilled to be turning fifty, and the party Walter throws him makes him even more uncomfortable. Walter has arranged a special birthday present for Mason: a private hour with the handsome, young Henry Bowtrickle in Walter’s upstairs bedroom. But the night turns deadly when his birthday gift turns up murdered. The room was locked, no way in or out, and only Henry and Mason were inside.

Mason Adler is on the case, but he is also a suspect, along with the other assorted party guests who were all downstairs at the time of the stabbing. Or were they?

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Death Foretold

By David S. Pederson

A Detective Heath Barrington Mystery | Book 7
Veterans

A traveling spiritualist is found shot to death in an alley late at night with his underwear around his ankles. But the perpetrator is an enigma. Was it the young trick with a drug problem the spiritualist met in the alley? The unusual woman who runs the boarding house where the trick lives? The dead man’s wife, another spiritualist with secrets of her own? The handsome, alcoholic protégé? The beautiful woman who leads the spiritualist’s fan club? Or someone else altogether?

With a list of suspects a mile long, only Detective Heath Barrington will be able to crack the murder. But Heath’s handsome fellow detective, Grant Riker, has an unlikely connection to their prime suspect that reveals a shady past he’s ashamed to admit. With more questions than answers, a séance may be the only way to the truth. Or perhaps the answer is in the cards? While Heath searches for the murderer, he uncovers more dark secrets than he bargained for, and witnesses firsthand the relentless pressure for LGBTQ+ people in the 1940s to stay hidden in the shadows.

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Death's Prelude

By David S. Pederson

Virgins/First Love
International Setting
A Detective Heath Barrington Mystery | Book 6
Vacation
New York City
Age Gap
Amateur Sleuths
Children / Families

It’s 1937, and Heath Barrington is a naïve twenty-two-year-old about to set sail across the Atlantic on theQueen Mary. While on board, he meets the handsome Lord Simon Quimby, who invites Heath to his estate. Heath falls for Simon hard, but Simon soon becomes withdrawn and distant. Is Simon all he appears to be, or is there more to him than meets the eye? And what of the old gypsy curse Simon claims his family is under? Did it really cause his mother’s death, his sister’s suicide, and his father’s murder, or did Simon have something to do with it all? It’s up to Heath to uncover the truth, despite his heart telling him otherwise.

In this prequel to the Detective Heath Barrington Mystery series, Heath discovers that first love changes you forever and drives you to become the person you’re destined to be.

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Death Overdue

By David S. Pederson

A Detective Heath Barrington Mystery | Book 5
Friends & Community
Children / Families

I know what you are. Five words scrawled on a note, and Heath knew his life was now in jeopardy. He had no choice but to confront the blackmailer and find out what proof he had. But what then? Pay up and risk demands for future payments? Or not give in and throw his life away?

The decision’s made for him when the blackmailer turns up dead. Is Heath a murderer? Even he isn’t sure, thanks to several double martinis. Other suspects include a voluptuous neighbor, a smarmy grocer, a ruthless gangster, Heath’s cousin Liz, who was once married to the blackmailer, and Miss Caldwell, a wily librarian who has eyes for the blackmailer’s current wife, Alice. Heath tries to read between the lines to solve the case of a death overdue before he’s arrested for the crime.

 

Praise from Mystery Scene: "Pederson successfully evokes and shrewdly capitalizes upon the time in which his mystery takes place, using the era’s prejudices and politics to heighten the story’s stakes and more thoroughly invest readers in its outcome. Plausible suspects, persuasive red herrings, and cleverly placed clues keep the pages frantically flipping until the book’s gratifying close."

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Death Takes a Bow

By David S. Pederson

A Detective Heath Barrington Mystery | Book 4
Actors/Artists
Police ProceduralĀ 
Police / Cops
Children / Families

Alan Keyes takes a break from his police duties to scratch his acting itch in a local stage production. But when the leading man is murdered during the opening night performance, his partner Detective Heath Barrington is thrust into the limelight to find the killer. Alan soon learns the theater has a deadly past and ghostly forebodings, including a telegram that seems to have come from the beyond.

Among the large cast of suspects is Oliver Crane, the director whose finances depend on the success of this play, Jazz Monroe, Milwaukee’s sweetheart with a secret, and the handsome actor Henry Hawthorne, who has designs on Alan. When Alan seems to return Henry’s attentions, Heath must put his jealousy and insecurities aside to determine what’s real, what’s illusion, and who’s acting and who’s telling the truth before death takes a bow.

A Detective Heath Barrington Mystery

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Death Checks In

By David S. Pederson

A Detective Heath Barrington Mystery | Book 3
Veterans
Police / Cops
Big City

All Detective Heath Barrington and his partner, Alan Keyes, want is to get away for a weekend of romance, but they find murder instead when a missing tie leads them to the body of the peculiar Victor Blount, and Heath can't resist the urge to investigate.  Who killed Blount, and why? 

Clues turn up around every corner, but what do they mean? The bloody "W," the green spool of thread grasped in the dead man’s hand, the newspaper left at the doorstep: they all lead down a strange and winding road of mystery and danger. As Heath and Alan work together to solve the case, they encounter various and eccentric suspects, old friends, and a hostile Chicago Detective, Marty Wilchinski, who doesn’t like Milwaukee police involved in a Chicago crime. Forced to act on their own, out of their jurisdiction, they race against time to find the killer before Wilchinski files the case closed.

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Death Goes Overboard

By David S. Pederson

A Detective Heath Barrington Mystery | Book 2
Police ProceduralĀ 
Gangsters
Veterans
Police / Cops

Gregor Slavinsky went overboard. Or did he? He was murdered. Or was he? It’s up to Detective Heath Barrington and his partner, police officer Alan Keyes, to find out as they search for clues and a missing twenty-five thousand dollars aboard an old lake steamer and throughout 1947 Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

They are up against gangsters, con artists, and a very seductive Grant Riker, a fellow policeman who could come between Heath and Alan, upsetting their romance. 

The three of them race the clock to find the truth amidst lies, secrets, and possible scandal, while riding the waves of a potential love triangle.

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Death Comes Darkly

By David S. Pederson

A Detective Heath Barrington Mystery | Book 1
Police / Cops
Police ProceduralĀ 
Children / Families

Can a detective and a policeman find love amidst murder? Heath Barrington is an attractive, clever, big city detective, confident, strong, and crazy about police officer Alan Keyes. Down-to-earth, noble, and naïve, Alan struggles with his desires for Heath versus 1940s America and his guilty conscience. 

Heath’s skills of deduction and reasoning are put to the test as he and Alan work together to solve the murder of an eccentric millionaire in his mysterious, isolated estate. They search for clues and uncover long buried secrets of the weekend guests while keeping secrets of their own. 

It’s up to Heath to solve the mystery and convince Alan that some secrets aren’t worth keeping, and lust can lead to love.

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